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Live From FIFA World Cup: Fox Sports Spreads Impressive Studio Presence Along the Doha Bay

03/12/2022

Live From FIFA World Cup: Fox Sports Spreads Impressive Studio Presence Along the Doha Bay Four separate sets are churning out prematch, halftime, and postmatch content at the Doha Corniche By Kristian Hern ndez, Senior Editor

Saturday, December 3, 2022 - 8:45 pm

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There's the idea that studio coverage needs to create its own environment, and then there's the philosophy of Fox Sports' remote studio operations at the FIFA Men's World Cup in Doha, Qatar. Blending together unique applications of creativity and technology along with the natural and man-made beauty of the city, the broadcaster has developed four sets along the Doha Corniche - the 4.4-mile waterfront promenade that hugs Doha Bay.

We put a lot more attention into not only being correct or architecturally appropriate into the area, but making [our sets] shine, says Rod Conti, VP, remote studio operations, Fox Sports. It's definitely become the star of our shows.

Doing Their Homework: Fox Sports Spends Two Years Charting Out Every Detail Host Rob Stone sitting at the main desk in front of the Doha skyline.

Despite fans at home being mesmerized by the bright lights, swooping shots, and bursting energy seen on their television sets, making this layout become a tangible reality took two years to complete. As the city of Doha slowly began to rise to meet the gargantuan expectations of hosting a large-scale festivity like the FIFA World Cup, Fox Sports devoted a ton of time into the pre-planning, planning, and execution process. Based on years past, the mentality of Conti and his team was to choose a location that viewers would automatically know what city the tournament is being played in. This mean choosing St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow's Red Square for the 2018 FIFA Men's World Cup or the Eiffel Tower in Paris for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. Unlike the legacy and lineage of two well-known metropolises, the capital of Doha is only 127 years old. Still being developed and built into the modern age, the crew had some searching to do.

The pentagram-shaped set is littered with LED displays supplied by Creative Technology.

When we came to Qatar, they really didn't have [an iconic location] that stood out since it's a fairly new country, says Conti. When we were looking around for different options, which involved the Souq Waqif, Al Bidda Park, and the museums, we understood that this is a country on the move when we saw the downtown skyline. We've seen it grow incredibly, and everything started to come to life very quickly.

Pieces like Persian pillows, hand-made pottery, and desert rose crystals are representing Qatari culture.

Working closely with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, a Qatari-run group that oversees deliver the planning and operations of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Fox Sports zeroed in on the Doha Corniche: a popular meeting place for locals and tourists alike that provides tantalizing vistas of the skyscrapers and the Doha Bay section of the Arabian Gulf. Since the skyline is continually growing vertically, Conti and VP, Field Operations and Engineering, Kevin Callahan wanted to marry this burgeoning town with its roots.

A digital-only set is opposite of the main structure.

We took the Dhow boats, which we noticed were an older part of their pearl diving history, and we said, You know what? The contrast of the old and the new might be the backdrop,' adds Conti. We saw this picture in our heads, and knew that we wanted to have this spot.

Pen was put onto paper, and conceptualizations became drawings. Collaborating with Los Angeles-based |drive| studio, EVP and Creative Director Gary Hartley and Art Director Johnny Cho turned into the final blueprint for the project. Aiming to showcase the culture and daily life of the host nation, the pairing made sure to feature work of local artists on the building's exterior and integrate symbols and iconography. This includes rectangular flags on the ceiling to honor the Qatari passion for falconry, Persian pillows and tapestry, hand-made pottery, and desert rose - a rose-like crystal that can be found in country.

A Flycam and Technocrane 22 are present at the Doha Corniche.

Planning transitioned into real-world building in the latter part of 2022. Pre-building the set in Fox Sports' Charlotte facility and shipping it overseas in 46 containers, operations shifted to Doha in mid-September. As the sets were installed and put into place, the home of the onsite production team - a control room positioned within a temporary compound a few hundred feet away from the sets - needed to be brought into existence as well. That project started on Oct. 1 and was completed on November 10, 10 days before the inaugural match of the competition between Ecuador and Qatar.

Inside the Design: Settings Account for High Winds, Mesh Augmented Reality With LED Floor The Dhow boats floating in Doha Bay.

With a beautiful vision in tow, the broadcaster had to consider potential challenges that this locale presents. Surrounded by massive expanses of desert, rain hasn't and will not be part of the weather forecast in Doha, but the true bugaboo is high-intensity winds. Although the windiest part of the year is February at an average speed of 10.9 mph, average speeds from Nov. 14 to April 15 can reach 9.3 mph. Pair that with breeze from a large body of water and loose sand from parts of the country, Conti deemed it necessary to have fail-safes in case the circumstances warranted a quick audible. That's when he called in Filmwerks, their reputable partner that was used for other remote builds throughout the year including, the NASCAR Clash at the Coliseum in February, the 2022 Daytona 500 two weeks later, and MLB at Field of Dreams. Responsible for the overall build of the full 148 x 33 ft
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2022/12/03/live-from-fifa-world-cup-fox-sp...
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